Our war in Iraq was fundamentally a war of choice, and it was the wrong choice -- a war fought on false pretenses and for false purposes. But this "cake-walk" became an occupation, with years of vicious and deadly street warfare, sectarian violence, constant terrorist bombings, and finally no real political solutions to unite the country.
I wonder if there's another way to observe this day and the season of Lent which it inaugurates by considering where those ashes come from. I don't mean their traditional origin in last year's Palm Sunday palm fronds that are burned to ashes and mixed with oil to create an adhesive mix, but a deeper origin.
Studies show that the more you toot your own horn, the more negatively you're evaluated: Self-promoters are not only less liked, but also earn lower salaries and fewer promotions. Bragging about yourself violates norms of modesty and politeness -- and if you were really competent, your work would speak for itself.